Ten things we learned live on set at Britain’s Got Talent

From Simon’s secret padding to rules of the set and Ant and Dec's dancing, we reveal what really goes on at a BGT semi-final

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Last night’s third semi-final of Britain’s Got Talent saw singing group Luminites sail through to the final. They were soon followed by young dance act Pre Skool, who beat out fellow dancer Joseph Hall after a judging deadlock saw the vote go back to the public. We were ringside for the action to find out what really happens at a live semi-final…

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1. Simon Cowell has his own cushion

Yes, there may be two women on the panel, but it’s head judge Mr Simon Cowell who wants some extra support for that high-trousered tush. We managed to get a quick snap of said pillow (squint really hard and you can definitely make it out). What a rock star, eh?

2. Simon and the judges chat openly about acts during the re-plays

As if judging them once wasn’t enough, the judges have a good chinwag during the recap of the acts. Simon looked like he wanted to bang his head on the desk upon his second viewing of illusionist Stevie Pink. But singing sensation Luminites got him all excited. He was tapping his pen and looking expectantly at their already vocal fans for support. Perhaps for confirmation that he’s not at the helm of a completely bonkers show.

3. Ant and Dec run. A lot.  

Presenters Ant and Dec certainly don’t need a gym membership. Those lads are up and down the stairs more times than David Walliams tries to touch Simon. Being well positioned to watch them, Dec won out on chirpiness, stopping often to chat to his adoring fans. He even blew us a kiss. What a charmer.

4. You’re not allowed to jump

The chairs are well screwed in we were promised, but jumping isn’t the done thing. So when MC Boy was giving it large to his track I Need You Tonight, we had to bounce and point our fingers in the air. We were taught how to do this by a choreographer. Who said organised fun was dead?

5. David and Simon have a bath between the two shows… together

Yeah, this one’s according to David, so we’ll remain sceptical. David joked that the two judges chatted about the acts while in the tub (a lemon bath, as is Simon’s scent of choice). David managed to squeeze a cringey, “It’s the hardest it’s been all week” innuendo in among all the bath chat, too.

6. Ant and Dec enjoy a side-of-stage boogie

We may not have been allowed to jump, but Ant and Dec were having a riot on the side of the stage during MC Boy. There was finger pointing, some one-legged dancing and even a bit of bum slapping.

7. The judges join in

Credit to the judges, Amanda Holden, David Walliams, Alesha Dixon and Simon, they spend a lot of time meeting and greeting people in the crowd. The warm-up act thoroughly enjoys poking fun at Simon, too. Whether he’s getting a fake tan, or having his teeth whitened, there’s always a cheeky jibe at the head honcho if he’s not made it back to his seat yet.

8. Steven Mulhern does his own make up

Britain’s Got More Talent host Steven Mulhern was repeatedly mopping his face with a make up pad between shots. But given some of David’s more risque comments, it’s hardly surprising Mulhern occasionally gets the sweats.

9. A lot can happen in 30 seconds

If you think an advert break feels long at home, you’d be amazed how much goes on between each segment. From make up, to meeting the judges, to set changes, thirty seconds goes a long way. David even managed to pop up to the back of the studio for a chat with Barbara Windsor, Rylan Clark and Carol Vorderman.

10. VIP guests mingle

The VIP guests aren’t off in some roped off area where you can’t see them. Carol Vorderman, Barbara Windsor and chef Aldo Zilli were just two rows behind us. Simon’s own mum was right in the thick of things in the middle of the crowd. Rylan hung out with fellow X Factor stars Union J in the bar at the back, but they all came out to support the acts and wave to fans. Rylan, it transpires, is one of the biggest Peggy Mitchell fans ever. There was a lot of hugging. We’re not sure Barbara knew who he was. 

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The Britain’s Got Talent semi-finals continue tonight at 7:30pm on ITV